Vulnerable populations are often concentrated in neighbourhoods with less beneficial environments. This could include less greenspace, bringing hotter land surface temperatures, increased concentrations of air and noise pollution and fewer walkable amenities. Urban planners can play a crucial role in helping cities reduce these inequitable conditions by designing targeted interventions in areas that have a higher proportion of vulnerable populations exposed to less beneficial environmental conditions. However, pinpointing these hotspots can be a challenge because nationally standardized, locally relevant data that can help direct resources to those most at risk of negative health outcomes from environmental exposures have so far been unavailable to planners, policymakers and public health professionals.
This webinar will present HealthyPlan.City, a new and innovative Canada-wide tool that facilitates visualization and analysis of environmental and socioeconomic data in support of planning. An initial iteration of this publicly available tool was released in July. This first version of the tool combines land surface temperature and tree canopy cover data with socio-demographic data to show areas of ‘equity priority’ where higher proportions of vulnerable populations (older adults, children, low-income individuals, visible minority individuals, and people who live alone) and hotter temperatures coincide. In July, a landmark series of stories by CBC News/Radio-Canada used the tool to highlight areas that could be prioritized because of their heightened risk of extreme heat and limited capacity to respond to these temperatures. Future iterations of the tool will evolve based on feedback from urban planners, public health professionals, policy makers, researchers and the general public. Identifying where vulnerable populations and environmental exposures coincide can help urban planners prioritize resources to prevent adverse health outcomes.
Associate Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health
Scientific Director and Nominated Principal Investigator, Canadian Urban Environmental Health Research Consortium
Jeffrey Brook is an associate professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry at the University of Toronto. He has 25 years of experience as an Environment Canada scientist working at the science-policy interface. He is one of Canada’s leading experts in air quality, recognized at all levels of government and academically, including for his substantial contributions in air pollution health research. Dr. Brook has led federal and international scientific assessments to inform research priorities and multi-stakeholder groups shaping policy. He has led a variety of multi-disciplinary research teams in government, government-academic partnerships and in academia. Recently his environmental work has expanded beyond air quality through his role as the Scientific Director of the Canadian Urban Environmental Health Research Consortium (CANUE), which undertakes and supports research on multiple urban environmental exposures and health.
Managing Director, Canadian Urban Environmental Health Research Consortium
Dany Doiron has been working as an environmental epidemiologist for 10 years, and has special expertise in linking environmental data with health data to support a wide range of studies on how people are affected by the built environment. His research focuses on the effects of ambient air pollution on respiratory health. Dany is a Research Associate in the Respiratory Epidemiology and Clinical Research Unit of the McGill University Health Centre and serves as the Chief Operating Officer of the Canadian Obstructive Lung Disease Cohort (CanCOLD), a population-based cohort that seeks to better understand Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). He is also the Managing Director of the Canadian Urban Environmental Health Research Consortium (CANUE) and Co-Director of HealthyDesign.City.